Belfast Telegraph

Viola Davis: Poverty infects spirit

Viola Davis has spoken about why she is so devoted to eradicating hunger in the world.

The Academy Award-nominated actress grew up very poor in Rhode Island with five other siblings.

And Viola is convinced having no money causes an untold amount of trauma.

“We lived in abject poverty. When you’re poor, it infects your mind, it infects your spirit, but we all wanted to be somebody,” she told More magazine.

Viola grew up as an African-American in a predominantly white neighbourhood just after the Civil Rights Movement took place.

The star recalls being racially targeted by bullies as a kid was painful, but she’s moved on to find light in her experience.

“It was a childhood filled with the best memories of my life and some of the worst memories,” she explained. “It was a town filled with great friendships that I still have to this day and people who bullied me to the point that it was damaging. But I’m not ashamed of it. I embrace it as a part of who I was.”

The Help actress has lent her star power to the Hunger Is campaign to help raise awareness on childhood hunger.

And Viola thinks it’s necessary she give back to those who may be struggling to eat.

“I don’t care if it’s embarrassing. I’m 48. I understand the grand scheme of life and what’s really important. Me saying that I grew up without food, without electricity, without running water at times? It’s a small price to pay to help kids not go hungry,” she said.

Viola is currently filming TV series How to Get Away with Murder, which debuts September 23. The show sees the actress portray a brilliant law professor who gets embroiled in a murder plot with her students.

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